History

Smiths City was founded in 1918 and is a long established, successful and profitable retail trading operation.

2013

October – closed Powerstore Invercargill with all staff transferring over to Smiths City Invercargill. Negotiated out of the existing lease at Smiths City Porirua and transferred to new higher profile premises in Porirua.

September – open new Smiths City store on Kapiti Coast.

April – completed the renegotiation of financing the Smithcorp Finance Limited ledger, with ANZ Bank New Zealand, the long term savings at current business levels are anticipated to exceed $2.5million per annum.

March – closed Smiths City Upper Hutt where sales fell consistently once the Smiths City Lower Hutt store had opened – coinciding with expiry of existing lease. Most staff transferred to other Smiths City sites in the region.

Reopened Powerstore Max on Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch in the newly designed/rebuilt site incorporating the Furniture Concepts, Christchurch store within the site.

2012

Powerstore and Smiths City launched fully transactional websites to operate alongside the LV Martin on-line offering.

2011

Late November saw the opening of the Samsung Pop Up Container store in the new Cashel Street Mall providing the latest Samsung technology out of a revamped container. This container store is managed and staffed by our Powerstore team.

November – 17th Stage I of the redeveloped Colombo Street, Christchurch site re –opens with record sales and massive queues that started at 4.00am. Stage I is about two thirds the size of the original footprint.

September – Furniture Concepts reopens in a temporary store within a store site at Smiths City Bush Inn Centre. They also open another store within a store in Smiths City Queenstown. Smiths City Porirua finishes a refit and revamp on site. Powerstore website online selling tool goes live. Redevelopment of Colombo Street site progressing rapidly. Powerstore Moorhouse Avenue remains closed. Due to severe ground damage the prognosis of getting back into the site is not good. Other options for Powerstore Max are being investigated.

August – Clearance Centre, Christchurch reopens in new premises on Blenheim Road. Another snow storm hits the country putting Christchurch out of action for another couple of days. On the Colombo Street, Christchurch redevelopment site, five brick furnaces have been uncovered believed to be associated with the Scott Brothers Atlas Engineering Works in the 1870s, found beneath a concrete slab. It was thought these furnaces were probably used for the melting and casting of steel for locomotives. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust made the decision to fill the site in, after noting it for the history books, for Smiths City to continue their development.

July – demolition complete of investment properties facing Colombo Street thereby opening up further the car park behind the planned new style Colombo Street store. Massive snow storm hits the country causing more havoc for those in Christchurch with damaged homes and buildings.

June 13th more significant aftershocks in Christchurch measuring 5.8 and 6.3 all its sites in Christchurch closed for the afternoon for precautionary reasons. Inspections by engineers cleared the Smiths City stores at Northwood and Riccarton, the Powerstore outlet in Northwood and later at Riccarton, and the Alectra service centre at Sockburn which houses the Group’s administration function. The Group’s largest distribution centre, in Woolston, received some structural damage and closed for repairs. The closure of this warehouse did not impact the supply of product for the retail business.

Smiths City Colombo Street, Powerstore Moorhouse Avenue and the Clearance Centre in Moorhouse Avenue remain closed following the February 22nd earthquake.

March/April – the Board of Directors commits to the rebuild of the Colombo Street, Christchurch site. Parts of the building will require demolition and plans are underway for a rebuild of a smaller temporary store – Stage I redevelopment.

February – 22nd – Christchurch suffered a 6.3 magnitude tragic earthquake and countless large after shocks. Most importantly there were no fatalities or serious injuries to company staff or customers on that day. This earthquake resulted in greater devastation. All buildings occupied by Smiths City in Christchurch were damaged to varying degrees and were closed immediately following the earthquake. After remedial work undertaken over a two week period four buildings remained unopened – the owned Colombo Street store which housed the largest retail operation of the company and the Group administration offices; leased properties in Moorhouse Avenue for Powerstore, Furniture Concepts and the Clearance Centre.

The company’s Disaster Recovery Plan came into action and the administration function, including the management teams for Powerstore and Smiths City, the clerical staff and the Managing Director’s team were in place and the most crucial areas of the business were fully operational at the designated disaster recovery site at Watts Road, Sockburn.

After full engineers checks the Distribution Centre, Smiths City and Powerstore Riccarton and Northwood stores were open and trading within a couple of days.

January – major refit completed at L V Martin Ngauranga.

2010

December – Smiths City Lower Hutt opened its doors in the Harvey Norman Centre, Rutherford Street. Lower Hutt. Rutherford Street is the location for almost 90% of all furniture and home appliance stores in Lower Hutt.

November – Smiths City Porirua and L V Martin Porirua joined stores giving a much larger floor space for all product categories – now trading solely under Smiths City.

September – 4th – Christchurch suffered a 7.1magnitude earthquake which had a major impact on the Smiths City Colombo Street store and the city in general. The store closed for two days. Clearance was given by structural engineers, however a large aftershock closed the store on Wednesday the 8th Sept. All other stores in the Canterbury region were declared safe and able to trade also.

March – Smiths City Upper Hutt opened its doors to the public on Thurday March 18th . The grand opening promotion on the 25th will formally introduce Smiths City’s second Wellington store.

2009

December – Smiths City Porirua opened its doors on Thursday the 10th December, taking the Smiths brand back into Wellington (the last store closed in 1991).

December – The Store Revamp for Powerstore Max, on Moorhouse Ave was completed.

August – LVM Rotorua closed it doors. The lease has expired on the premises and in the current climate recommitting to another three years is not the right business decision. Smiths City Te Ngae continues to support existing LVM customers & the wider Rotorua community .

August – Powerstore Timaru Opened the doors at the new Stafford Street site on the 28th of August. The New store is located within the old Smiths City site on Stafford Street.

July – The New Smiths City Timaru Store opened. The New Store looks superb, the modern colour schemes & layout of the displays do real justice to the product and merchandising skills of the Timaru staff. On opening day the Timaru public came out in droves (190+ queuing at the door at 10:00am), proving once again Smiths City is a trusted New Zealand brand with the best deals.

2008

December – acquired Newbolds Adelaide Road, Wellington, business rebranding this L V Martin. Sold Smiths City Gisborne property.

November – closed L V Martin City store. The Point of Sale System went live throughout the L V Martin stores.

July – opened the new Smiths City Tauranga store. March – relocated Powerstore Invercargill from the Annex to Leven Street in amongst other big ticket retailers. Closed Smiths City Filleul Street moving all functions to the much larger Smiths City Andersons Bay Road store. Relocated Smiths City Blenheim to a new and much larger site.

2007

December – the Property company purchased the site in Gisborne, for development but the development was interrupted by earthquake damage which was quite extensive.

October – relocated Alectra Dunedin into the Anderson Bay Road site with Smiths City.

September – amalgamated Powerstore and Smiths City in Gore into one large Smiths City store located in the centre of the town.

September – the group joined the buying group Narta New Zealand Limited – a subsidiary of Narta International Pty Limited (NARTA), the largest appliance buying group in Australia. This is key move for the Group, having been on our own for so long. NARTA’s appliance turnover in Australia is approximately $2.6billion and being involved in a group like this will improve our ability to compete aggressively in the New Zealand appliance market for the long term.

August – acquired the remaining 20% minority shareholding in L V Martin making this 100% owned by Smiths City Group.

July – sold Alectra Building Supplies business (formerly RT&T) to Carter Holt Harvey enabling the company to exit the very competitive building supplies industry.

June – purchased, developed and completed the sale of our new store in Gore yielding a profit of $549,000 for the Group.

May – the Point of Sale System was integrated into the Meikles stores in the North Island.

April – Alectra Industries successfully completed the contract for electrical work of the airport expansion at Dunedin – one of their biggest projects.

February – the Group started the roll out of a new Point of Sale system into the Smiths City and Powerstore divisions. This new system enabled smarter management of stock turns, costs and improvement of store performance.

2006

March – confirmed the purchase of North Island retailer, Meikles Limited, a trading and finance operation based in the Bay of Plenty. Stores are located in Whakatane, Rotorua, Kawerau, Opotiki. L V Martin purchased Star Appliances in Rotorua and rebranded to L V Martin. Furniture Concepts moved from its Ferrymead, Christchurch base to the Armson Heritage Building in Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch.

June – Smiths City Greymouth moved to larger premises.

September – Smiths City Mosgiel moved to larger premises in Anderson Bay, Dunedin. Smiths City opened a new store in Palmerston North. Powerstore moved to more modern premises in Timaru. Alectra successfully completed the renovation and upgrade of the RT&T site in Rangiora now branded as Alectra Building Supplies.

December – Smiths City relocated to larger premises in Queenstown. Powerstore completed the purchase of Dunedin appliance retailer, Selectrix, enabling it to move to superior premises in Dunedin.

2005

January – L V Martin moved the Lambton Quay store to larger premises in Willis Street, Central Wellington.

June – the company acknowledges the passing of D R Smith one of the founding members of the Smith family for Smiths City Market Limited. Smiths City Properties Limited sold the L V Martin Ngauranga Gorge, Wellington property, and will stay on site with a long term lease.

The company commenced a complete redevelopment of the RT&T site in Rangiora, North Canterbury.

October – Smiths City Properties Limited purchased the Watts Road, Christchurch, property to house the Alectra Services division. Smiths City Riccarton moves into new 44,000 sqft premises at the Bush Inn Centre, Christchurch.

December – Smiths City opened a small format store (approx 650 sqm) in Kaikoura. The property company on sold the Watts Road, Christchurch, site and will stay on site with a long term lease.

2004

July – Smiths City Group transferred trading of its shares to the NZSX.

The company completed a successful refurbishment and expansion of the Smiths City Oamaru store increasing sales in the area significantly.

October – the company received a favourable binding ruling in regard to the settlement of a tax dispute relating to the 2003 tax year.

November – the company purchased 80% of L V Martin & Son Limited, a Wellington based retailer of appliances and electronic products, consisting of four retail stores located in Lower Hutt, Ngauranga Gorge, Lambton Quay and Coastlands.

December – an additional L V Martin store was opened in Porirua. A special one off dividend payment was made to shareholders in recognition of the tax resolution achieved earlier in the year.

2003

February – next stage of Smiths City Colombo Street, Christchurch, major redevelopment involving the refurbishment of the new office areas and development of the new Despatch area.

March – Alectra Invercargill move into brand new purpose built workshop. Commercial have officially moved into their premises in Kotzikas Place, Christchurch.

June – the Group Administration offices, as part of the redevelopment of the Smiths City Colombo Street site, completed and moved into the first floor above the new Sports department. The Non Retail division consisting of Smiths City Commercial, RT&T and Southern Furniture combined with Alectra Services to come under the one brand name of Alectra.

August – alterations and extension to the Powerstore Richmond store complete. The three storey Bicycle Business building demolished and removed as part of the Colombo Street, Christchurch redevelopment.

November – Smiths City Group Limited listed on the NZAX. Smiths City Wanaka moves into much larger premises. The company also opened a stand alone top end furniture store branded Furniture Concepts in Ferrymead, Christchurch.

December – Grand Opening of the Smiths City Colombo Street major redevelopment and rebuild.

2002

Purchased South Island retail assets of Rockgas and Gasfit thus giving access to a rapidly growing market of gas appliances and gas water heating.

February – revamped and extended Smiths City Queenstown into two storey trading store.

May – moved Smiths City Invercargill into new larger premises; also opened new Powerstore in Northwood, Christchurch.

July – extensions complete in Smiths City Nelson enabling an increase in range of products. Upgrade of Powerstore Max, Christchurch, incorporating a new computer and technology department

September – Christchurch Distribution moved to larger more accessible premises in Blenheim Road. Southern Furniture, the manufacturing arm of the Group, moved into Kotzikas Place, Christchurch, where they will combine with the Commercial division once complete.

October – saw commencement of Stage I of the Smiths City Colombo Street, Christchurch enormous redevelopment.

December – opening of newly relocated Smiths City Alexandra store.

2000

January – purchased Rangiora Timber & Trellis rebranded as RT&T.

April – moved Smiths City Mosgiel to a bigger site.

August – opened Powerstore in Dunedin.

November – moved Smiths City Ashburton to a new purpose built bigger site and opened a new purpose built Smiths City mega store in Northwood, Christchurch.

Total Group sales passed $150million for the first time.

1999

Purchased Rices three sites in Invercargill and Gore – rebranded as Powerstore.

1998

80 Year Anniversary.

October – 31st saw the end of the Scheme of Arrangement.

Paid dividend to shareholders – the first in 10 years.

1997

December – purchased the retail trading arm of Southpower – rebranded Powerstore appliance retail stores consisting of eight stores in Christchurch, Nelson, Richmond and Blenheim regions.

1994

March – 17th (St Patricks Day) Smiths City Group Limited was released from receivership – being the first publicly listed company in New Zealand to recover from receivership.

1993

September – Five Year Scheme of Arrangement for completion 31 October 1998 agreed by meetings of creditors (becoming capital noteholders).

October – High Court approval granted for the Scheme of Arrangement.

November – South Island trading operations of Smiths City (Southern) Limited released from receivership.

1991

May – 1st Smiths City Group Limited placed in receivership. 14th Receivers sold North Island Smiths City to Brinkleys and Noel Leeming Television Limited.

August – new trading company, Smiths City (Southern) Limited, was formed to operate South Island stores.

1990

Trading became more difficult and a number of North Island stores were closed. New Board of Directors appointed in March 1990 (being Bill Revell, Chairman; Ian Farrent; Tim Rattray; John Holdsworth; Craig Boyce). Smith family connection on Board of Directors severed. Further Group reconstruction July 1990-March 1991 with significant reduction in store numbers, assets and debt.

1988

Group reconstructed in March 1988 into two chains – Smiths City Limited selling homewares and Smiths DIY Limited selling builders supplies and sports goods. Noel Leemings chain remained separate.

1987

October – the company purchased Smith & Brown Limited, with 50 stores selling furniture, floorcoverings and home appliances throughout New Zealand. This purchase was completed within days of the stock market crash occurring and recession setting in.

1986

Purchased the publicly listed company Irvin & Stern Limited, an Auckland based chain of seven stores selling furniture, flooring and home appliances located in the northern half of the North Island.

1985

Purchased Hopwood Weymss Bendall Company Limited, builders merchants of Blenheim, Picton and Kaikoura, four stores. Purchased Coles (Nelson) Limited with five stores retailing furniture, flooring and appliances.

1983

Purchased 80% of Noel Leeming Television Limited.

1980

Purchased Tuckers Limited, builders merchants of Ashburton.

1979

Purchased the Garden City Motors site in Colombo Street and built a new hardware building. Purchased 40% share in George Anderson Smiths City Market Limited.

1977

Purchased Paterson & Barr Limited of Dunedin.

1974

Added top deck to car park building in Dundas Street.

1972

Smiths City Market Limited floated as a public company.

1969

Open Builders Drive Thru and parking building of two floors. Auction rooms were transferred to 119 Montreal Street with new Builders Bulk Store.

1968

Demolition of Auction rooms and building of Builders Drive Thru and parking building in Dundas Street. Purchased Frame Services Limited to manufacture upholstery frames.

1963

Sucklings Shoes cafeteria buildings in Colombo Street on the north side of Dundas Street were bought and added to the shop frontage.

1961

A block of shops on Colombo Street on the north side of Dundas Street bought and added to the shop frontage.

1953

Smiths City Market Finance Limited was registered and commenced business financing the hire purchase requirements of Smiths City Market Limited’s customers.

1947

Shares in Auto Bodies Limited purchased. The company was renamed Dundas Trading Company trading as furniture auction rooms with the upholstery factory at the rear together with a farm gate construction department.

1938

Smiths City Market Limited was registered as a private company.

1933

Horse sale ring building built at 550 Colombo Street and farmers sale yards closed.

1920

Lease of farmers sale yards in St Asaph Street take over and livestock and farm implements sold.

1918

Henry Cooper Smith purchased 550 Colombo Street, Christchurch (formerly Ward & Company City Brewery) and commenced business trading as the City Market. The business was initially involved with auctioning of grain and product. The livestock and general goods but gradually expanded its product range to include retailing of new and used furniture and hardware lines.